The US Supreme Court lifted nationwide injunctions that had kept the administration’s discriminatory policy to prevent transgender people from serving openly in the US Armed Forces from being implemented.
The court’s denied petitions from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) asking that the Court review preliminary federal district court rulings that have kept the Trump administration from enacting the policy.
However, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court granted the DOJ’s request for a stay on the preliminary rulings, allowing the administration to begin kicking openly transgender troops out of the armed services and to deny transgender people the opportunity to enlist.
According to the Washington Post: “The court’s five conservatives — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh — allowed the restrictions to go into effect while the court decides whether to consider the merits of the case.
The liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — would have kept the injunctions in place.”
The preliminary rulings include one out of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN and joined by the State of Washington challenging the constitutionality of the proposed ban.
In the case Karnoski v. Trump (where nine individual plaintiffs and three organizational plaintiffs sued), a Washington district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction preventing implementation of the ban, which DOJ chose not to challenge on appeal, and the court reaffirmed that preliminary ruling in April 2018 after the Trump administration released an implementation plan. The administration appealed that latter ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral argument on October 10, 2018.
In addition to Karnoski v. Trump, the administration also asked the Supreme Court to review the preliminary rulings in Stockman v. Trump and Doe v. Trump, lawsuits also challenging the ban filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). Doe v. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that DOJ appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Stockman v. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and is also on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
The fight will continue, though, as more lawsuits against the discriminatory policy are still making their way through the court system and the Supreme Court continues to weigh in on the case.